Hindsight, foresight and insight: the challenges of longitudinal qualitative research

Thomson, Rachel and Holland, Janet (2003). Hindsight, foresight and insight: the challenges of longitudinal qualitative research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(3) pp. 233–244.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1364557032000091833

Abstract

This paper describes a UK based longitudinal qualitative study following approximately 100 young people over 9 years. It provides an overview of the research design, methods of data collection and analysis as well as reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the strategies employed. We focus on the value of a devolved research design, complementary cross-section and temporal analytic approaches and the effects of being involved in a longitudinal study on researchers and participants. The paper aims to contribute to a growing understanding of the practical, ethical and epistemological challenges presented by longitudinal qualitative methods, and highlights those challenges that are specific to this method as well as those which are amplified by this kind of approach.

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